Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Constant Flow of Words

I check out Angelle Trieste's Blog on a regular basis. A few days ago, this post really caught my attention. She noted that for her to be writing well she needs to be reading. In response to her post I left the following comment:

Wow and I thought I was the only who felt that way. I have noticed that too, if I am not reading - then writing seems really hard. It is a balance I think.

It is almost as if there has to be an equal number of words going in as are coming out.

Let us know how it works for you!

To which she replied:

Hi Susan,

You, too, huh? I think it’s word in, word out. Maybe I should call it WIWO. ;)

I’m really making more effort this month to read more. It feels like my creativity’s gone dry or something sometimes.

I could read until the cows come home. Really I could. There have been times that I have read well into the night. I will even forget to eat sometimes, if the book is really good. Before we had kids, I could read and read all day on a Saturday or Sunday. I can knock out a short novella or novel in a day and for a longer work, a matter of days. I tend to read pretty fast - but then I go back and reread alot too. Sometimes, I mark the passages I really like and from time to time I fold down the pages.

What I have noticed though, is that I write better when I am reading. So Angelle, is right - it has to be a balance, which is hard. Sometimes I really want to be writing, but it will not come, the words simply will not flow out of me. Then there are times, that I just cannot settle down to read - it is as if my brain will not soak up another word - not a one.

But sometimes, life gets in the way too! I get busy and there is not time to read. I also hate to be carrying a book around all the time. So I have been experimenting with alternative formats - like downloading e*reader for my PALM and sometimes I have a magazine with me.

I am not in love with the e*book thing. I can be hard to read on my PALM long term. I am also not sure if it is the quality of the words in or not. I think that has to be a balance too.

Furthermore, I do read on so many different levels everyday. L loves books. We read at least two picture books every night before bed. (Unless she is on a game jog, which happens from time to time. Maybe she is full of words - too!) E like board books. So we read 2 to 3 a night. I want to believe that they like books as much as they do, since they see me reading alot.

Clearly I also read other people's blogs too, so in total, I am sure I read a ton of words a day. But that reading is not the same as reading for pleasure. When I read a novel or short story or poetry, that is strictly for my pleasure. It is because I want to. That is the key I think. Reading someone else's creative work - their imagination on the page - a drawing thru language - that is the inspiration - that is what fills up my creative well. I am not sure if it the magic they create with language, a meeting of the collective imagination. But it works for me.

There is no forcing a story out of me. It just does not happen. I will end up staring at the screen and not type a word. Better to just stop and and go do something else.... like read!


Angelle Trieste said...


It's very hard to read a lot. But luckily I read 40 book so far this year.

I normally carry a not-so-thick massmarket paperback with me.

I agree with you about eBook. I don't read them anymore because they hurt my eyes.

IHateToast said...

always have a book. i have 2-3 going so i have one per mood. never upset in a long line, because i have my books. i take pub trans, so more time. then i read whenever i can. i don't get those long sessions much. i'm sure with kids you almost never do. so just learn to snack read. it's still reading.

and then bookcross. that makes ending a book a lot of fun.